Spices for Skin Health
Did you know all natural Indian spices offer antioxidant-rich ingredients that you can use topically to optimize the beauty and health of your skin? The following spices can offer your skin a number of health benefits, plus beauty and the elimination of blemishes, for a price that won’t break the bank! Try to purchase organic spices when possible.
Used as a natural medicine for thousands of years, turmeric is a spice that comes from the turmeric plant, which grows in India and Indonesia. It is a common ingredient in South Asian cuisine. Curcumin is a compound that is extracted from the root of the turmeric plant. Curcumin offers medicinal properties and anti-inflammatory agents which combine to offer a number of health benefits. With respect to your skin, curcumin can help remedy acne, reduce hyperpigmentation, brighten your skin and fight free radical damage involved in the development of wrinkles.
What you can do for skin: Add a pinch of turmeric to your moisturizer or face serum at night use (it can add a hue of colour to your skin). Rinse off any residue left behind in the morning with your daily cleanser, warm water and washcloth.
Grown commercially in Kerala, southern India, there are two main types of cinnamon—cassia (which is quite common) and royal. Cinnamon is both stimulating to your sense of smell, as well as to your blood circulation. As a spice, cinnamon can help draw nutrients and oxygen to your skin. It also contains antibacterial properties that can help eliminate skin blemishes.
What you can do for skin: A common remedy for zapping zits, try mixing a little cinnamon and honey together, and then dab the mixture on your pimples.
The largest producer of black pepper is the southern Indian state of Kerala. Known to naturally create heat and break things up, black pepper is a very effective remedy to help eliminate black heads.
What you can do for skin: Make an exfoliating mask by combining one tablespoon of black pepper powder (you can grind it yourself with a mortar and pestle) with one teaspoon of plain, unsweetened organic yogurt. Apply the mixture over your skin where blackheads appear. Then rinse off your mask with warm water and a facecloth after roughly 5-10 minutes.
Originating in Southeast Asia, Indian natives and ancient Chinese used the root of ginger as a tonic to treat common ailments. Ginger is also great for your skin. A ginger treatment can give your skin a healthy glow and renew its radiance. Ginger can help remedy blemishes, improve your skin tone and even lighten age spots.
What you can do for skin: Rub thin slices of freshly sliced ginger over clean skin, covering your entire face. Allow it to absorb for 20 minutes before rinsing it all off with warm water and a washcloth. You will feel fresh and invigorated!
(dosha tip: especially great for Kapha skin types)
Cumin is native to the eastern Mediterranean through to East India. Filled with antioxidants that fight free radical damage, it is known to help prevent premature aging. Cumin contains vitamin E, which is excellent for skin health. Research has shown that cumin may boost the immune system and help fight certain types of bacterial and fungal infections. It can help keep your skin clear of toxins and infections.
What you can do for skin: Make a skin toner by mixing a little cumin seed oil and apple cider vinegar in equal amounts. Allow the mixture to form a gel. Then apply this toner to your skin. It has been shown to be an effective remedy for boils and acne.
Although coriander originated from the countries of the Mediterranean Sea, the seeds and fresh leaves are frequently used in Indian cuisine, and coriander is commercially produced in India. Coriander seeds are very cooling and soothing—they contain the perfect properties for your skin.
What you can do for skin: Soak coriander seeds overnight and use the water they were soaking in as eyes drops, it clears your eye, gives a wonderful cooling effect and makes the eyes look more bright, shiny and more white.
The next time you look into your spice cabinet you'll see so many skin boosting herbal-plants!